Ministerial and Public Leadership Internships

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Ministerial & Public Leadership at McAfee… Practicing Ministry with Academic Excellence and Cultivating Relationships and Partnerships

McAfee School of Theology seeks “to equip students for Christian leadership through mentoring…and the integration of scholarship with professional experience.”  Internships are an essential aspect of preparing educated and creative leaders for ministry in the world. Through required internships, students at McAfee integrate classroom content with practical experience in churches, hospitals, social service agencies, mission contexts, and other clinical and ecclesial settings.  Students explore calling and ministerial identity, cultivate the ability to think theologically and incarnationally about ministry, and practice appropriate skills for ministry.

Internship Options

Learn by Doing

Students in the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree programs must complete 6 hours of internship. Students may choose between one of two ways to complete this requirement: Leadership in Context and the Church or Clinical Pastoral Education.

Leadership in Context and Leadership & Polity in the Church

Students who choose this option will complete 6 hours of practical experience in two prescribed settings: 3 hours of experience in a context that matches their personal ministry calling and 3 hours experience in a church setting. Students develop a deeper awareness and understanding of calling and ministerial identity, develop the ability to read and assess their context for ministry, cultivate the ability to think theologically and incarnationally about ministry in a particular context, and practice appropriate skills for ministry and leadership. Students learn to “pay attention” to and interpret the life and character of their placement contexts beyond mission statements, by-laws, job descriptions, and buildings.

McAfee offers Leadership in Context (THPT 701) each Fall semester and Leadership & Polity in the Church (THPT 702) each Spring semester. Each course is 3 hours credit, requires some on campus or online small group class time, and typically requires 80-90 hours of internship over the course of the semester. The Fall internship allows for any ministry setting, the Spring internship must be in a church setting.

Clinical Pastoral Education

Students who choose this option will complete 6 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a program accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Led by pastoral educators who are highly trained and certified, this program explores spirituality and theology, human beings as understood by the human sciences, group process, adult learning, diversity and inclusion, and the art and science of spiritual care. Students choosing this option will receive 6 hours of credit at McAfee for completing a CPE program and a professional credential with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

A unit of CPE is 400 hours and will help you better understand yourself, your gifts and struggles, how people react to you, and the skills of providing competent spiritual care. This program usually takes place in hospitals, counseling centers, hospice centers, and nursing homes. CPE provides close supervision with students on how to minister appropriately to patients with physical, emotional, and mental needs, and provides a forum for feedback, critique, and evaluation on the students’ skills and professional growth. For CPE, students apply to an outside program and receive one unit of CPE credit (an important credential for your resume and a prerequisite for some jobs, such as chaplaincy). One unit is 6 hours credit, pass/fail. CPE is available Fall, Spring, Summer, and in extended units.

Click here to download the Guidebook for Mentors 23-24

This Guidebook intends to provide (1) basic information about contextual education through Leadership in Context and Leadership & Polity in the Church at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology and (2) guidelines for your role as a Mentor/Supervisor of McAfee students.